Dinner at Cibo Wine Bar
I'll be honest, I'm a bad blogger. The last few times I've been out to dinner I haven't taken any pictures or written any blog posts. It was nice, for a change, to enjoy a meal without worrying about camera angles and lighting or how to describe the taste of kohlrabi kraut. I think it was also nice for my dining companions to dig into their food without having to wait for me to photograph it.
But after a nice little break I'm back to restaurant blogging! On Saturday I went for dinner at Cibo Wine Bar which was a departure from my usual restaurant style. Cibo is in the Entertainment District which is a neighbourhood I rarely dine out in, and is technically a corporate restaurant which is a type of restaurant I rarely frequent.
I have to say that it's good to step outside one's usual haunts every once in a while, because dinner at Cibo definitely exceeded the expectations I usually have of corporate-king-street-west dining.
(The only downside is that the dining room is SUPER dark. These photos have been lightened and filtered as much as my various photo-editing apps will allow and they're still pretty crappy. So I'm sorry, I'm a bad blogger!)
We started with the world's largest charcuterie and cheese board with a generous side of sun-dried tomato, artichoke, and savoury compote antipasti. (In case you couldn't tell from the name, Cibo is all Italian fare.) The prosciutto in particular was amazing and I was shovelling gorgonzola in my face by the fork-full. I don't usually go for blue cheese, but this was the perfect balance of creamy and strong without being overpoweringly blue.
Next we had deep-fried zucchini strips and deep-fried artichokes (which have quickly become one of my favourite appetizers.) You can't really go wrong with deep-fried anything, and the red pepper and lemon aiolis added a nice freshness.
In true Italian fashion, our next course was a pasta dish. After all those appetizers, we decided to share two mains so that we could try as much food as possible. Unlike the corporate restaurant I used to work at, Cibo really takes their dishes to the next level. They make about half their pastas in house as well as fresh focaccia which is to die for. A detail like fresh pasta vs. boxed may seem small to some people, but it really makes all the difference in the world. Pictured above is the Pappardelle with slow cooked lamb ragu and pecorino cheese. Definitely a winner for anyone who likes lamb and a traditional tomato based sauce.
This is also a good time to mention that Cibo has lots of gluten free options. They offer gluten-free or spelt pasta, and plenty of salads and main courses have the little gluten-free symbol right on the menu. They've got a huge menu so everyone at the table is guaranteed to find something they like, even with dietary restrictions.
Just to be different and to try something Italian other than pasta or pizza, we ordered the Tonno Scottato and Caponata. In English, that's Seared Ahi tuna with black olive salsa and green beans. In addition to black olives, the salsa also had grapes and capers mixed in. I would never have dreamt this combination, but it was phenomenal: the perfect balance of sweetness, salt, and acidity to compliment the rare fish. I'm going to try and re-create a version of that salsa at home, I think it would also be really nice on grilled chicken in the summertime.
Last-but-never-least: dessert. Ricotta cheesecake and chocolate hazelnut mousse. I've never had ricotta cheesecake before, but I loved the smooth texture and bite of cheesy-flavour that you get from the ricotta. And you really can't ever go wrong with chocolate and hazelnut, it's pretty much a flavour-match made in heaven.
All in all, Cibo has really raised my expectations of what a corporate restaurant can be. If you find yourself in the Entertainment District and want a restaurant with something for everyone, definitely give them a try.